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The Western Collegiate Hockey Association is changing dramatically next season, losing six teams and adding six more. With that in mind, the Pioneer will be giving readers an in-depth look at the WCHA this summer so fans can familiarize themselves with the new members (and become re-acquainted with the old ones) before the season begins in October. Our series continues this week with the new team from the Last Frontier: The Alaska Nanooks.
BEMIDJI -- When the Bemidji State women's soccer team returns for its 2013 season opener Sept. 5 against Missouri Western, head coach Jim Stone thinks the Beavers will come back better-prepared, physically and mentally, for the rigors of the upcoming season. And maybe the Beavers will have picked up a little Spanish along the way. Starting Tuesday, BSU soccer team will embark on its first-ever foreign trip when they'll travel to Costa Rica for eight days.
BEMIDJI -- By the time he won the 2013 Birchmont Men's Championship final, Bill Carlson was exhausted. The Fargo native and North Dakota State junior golfer defeated Andover resident and future Bemidji State golfer A.J. Oster 1-up to claim his first-ever Birchmont title Saturday afternoon at Bemidji Town and Country Club. "I felt like I was under stress for 10 hours today," Carlson said. "It will be nice to sit down."
PERHAM -- Despite an early loss, the Bemidji VFW baseball team is still alive in the Minnesota District 9 tournament. After receiving a bye in the tournament, the No. 2 seeded VFW squad fell to third-seeded Fergus Falls 9-5 Friday morning. The loss dropped Bemidji to the consolation bracket in the double-elimination tournament. That meant the VFW had to play Thief River Falls later Friday to stay alive.
The men's college hockey landscape will probably look a little strange this season. Two new conferences - the Big Ten Hockey Conference and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference - are starting from scratch. Another - the Central Collegiate Hockey Association - no longer exists. Bemidji State is right in the middle of this change. As a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Conference, the Beavers will see a league they joined just three years ago lose seven members and gain six more.
BEMIDJI -- Missy Tabery's emotional victory at the 2012 Birchmont Women's Championship division wasn't easy. Tabery, playing in her first-ever final as the No. 9 seed, went back and forth with Elizabeth Storm before Storm sank a birdie putt on the 18th hole to send the match into overtime. Tabery went on to win the match on the first extra hole. The Wadena native was excited to win last year but it was rough. Her dad passed away during the tournament but she was able to overcome it and win it all.
Pat Miller email@example.com BEMIDJI - Aaron Leintz of Bagley will be stepping into unchartered water Monday when he heads to the first tee for the start of his initial qualifying round of the Birchmont Men's Championship division. A year ago Leintz captured the Junior Championship crown but this year represents his first time in the Men's division.
PERHAM -- The Bemidji American Legion Post 14 baseball team split its final regular-season doubleheader Thursday. The Legion lost the first game against Perham 1-0 despite a strong start from Collin Rutledge before rallying to win the second game 6-3. In the opener, Bemidji's Nick Hovila kicked off the game with a leadoff single but that was the only thing Post 14 could muster. Perham pitching was perfect the rest of the game, allowing just one hit and zero walks in their 1-0 win.
BEMIDJI -- Chris Kokalis thinks an Indoor Football League team in Bemidji can be a smash hit. When he got a glimpse of the Sanford Center, he was sold. "This facility is amazing," Kokalis said, referring to the Sanford Center. "I think it's too beautiful not to have indoor football." Now, all he and Sanford Center officials need are some investors to get a team off the ground.
BEMIDJI -- Three Bemidji State baseball players are getting the chance to extend their seasons into the summer. BSU junior pitcher Jack Hegarty, sophomore outfielder Tyler Nelson and freshman first baseman Mason Bellew have all joined collegiate wood bat leagues for the summer. Hegarty, a Brainerd native, joined the Willmar Stingers of the Northwoods league Wednesday as a relief pitcher. The Stingers went 23-12 in the first half of the season, finishing second in the North Division. They're currently 5-7 in the season's second half.